Why mindfulness in education

Wellbeing is essential for learning.1
With mindfulness students are more focussed and more engaged learners.2


Meet Anna

She uses Smiling Mind to be a more mindful teacher and colleague. 


1 in 7 primary aged children and 1 in 4 secondary aged children are experiencing mental health problems3

Society is experiencing major and rapid changes and this is having an impact on the wellbeing of students.

The use of technology, smartphones and social media by children is affecting learning9 and there's more testing and pressure for students to perform.



Wellbeing and learning can't be separated. One supports the other. 

Wellbeing underpins the way children feel about themselves and how they relate to others.

Wellbeing affects how children think, learn and engage. Mindfulness can help with wellbeing, bringing about strong improvements in attention.4

1 in 5 Australian students are disengaged at school5

Disengaged students are, on average, one to two years behind their peers.6

It goes without saying that reduced engagement is related to reduced academic performance and to reduced career achievement later in life.7, 7a



Mindfulness is a skill for life.

Mindfulness can calm the mind, focus our attention4 and help us make the most out of life.  

Mindfulness is about focusing attention on the here and now, rather than thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Good mental health in childhood sets young people up for the future and their career.7


Mindfulness is a skill that can build the foundations for optimal student concentration and attention.4, 8 A regular mindfulness practise can have positive benefits on both students and educator engagement.8, 10 


For Students

  • Self Awareness11
  • Emotional Management12
  • Attention and Concentration4
  • Relationship Skills13, 13a
  • Decision Making14

For Educators

  • Less Stress15, 16
  • Better Sleep15, 16
  • More Workplace Satisfaction15, 16
  • More Effective In The Classroom16, 17
  • Improved Student Relationships16, 17

For Schools

  • Enhanced Teacher Engagement with Parents18
  • Better Staff Workplace Satisfaction15, 16
  • More Effective Staff16, 17

I'm convinced and I'm ready to bring mindfulness into my school.

We’re serious about the success of our mindfulness program in Australian schools, so we put our approach to the test.

In 2016, independent researchers evaluated the Smiling Mind program. This was one of the largest research programs worldwide evaluating a technology-assisted mindfulness meditation program in schools.

Researchers from Deakin University and InsightSRC surveyed 12 schools, 104 teachers and 1,853 students to assess the impact of the Smiling Mind mindfulness program.

The results indicated that our program can assist with students' sleep, wellbeing, managing emotions, concentration and classroom school behaviour.


Evidence Based Guidelines

Everything we do here at Smiling Mind is backed by evidence, which is why we’ve just released our Evidence Based Guidelines For Mindfulness in Schools. This document aims to provide school leaders, teachers and other stakeholders who wish to implement mindfulness programs into their school learning environment with a clear and concise review of the evidence and existing best practice within education. 


What teachers are saying

“I love the Smiling Mind program. It’s easy to use, the kids love it and it’s at an appropriate level.”

“After our wonderful Smiling Mind PD at our recent Wellbeing Conference, a cohort of our teachers implemented the Smiling Mind program in their own classrooms three times a week for three weeks.”

“I have been doing the Smiling Mind program for two years with many of the same children (in year 1 then as year 2s) and they absolutely love it. They ask every day if we are going to be doing it. Thank you.”

“What an outstanding service/program/product Smiling Mind is. I am a specialist gifted teacher; giftedness, anxiety, lack of mindfulness, negative self-talk, etc go hand in hand with giftedness. This program has been invaluable to us this year. “



1 Semple, R. J., Droutman, V., & Reid, B. A. (2017). Mindfulness goes to school: things learned (so far) from research and real-world experiences. Psychology in the Schools54(1), 29-52.
2 Costello, E., & Lawler, M. (2014). An exploratory study of the effects of mindfulness on perceived levels of stress among school-children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. International Journal of Emotional Education6(2), 21.

3 Lawrence, D., Johnson, S., Hafekost, J., Boterhoven de Haan, K., Sawyer, M., Ainley, J., & Zubrick, S. R. (2015). The mental health of children and adolescents: report on the second Australian child and adolescent survey of mental health and wellbeing.
4 Napoli, M., Krech, P. R., & Holley, L. C. (2005). Mindfulness training for elementary school students: The attention academy. Journal of applied school psychology21(1), 99-125.
5 Engagement in Australian schools A paper prepared by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) See: http://www.centralrangesllen.org.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Engagement_in_Australian_Schools-Background_Paper.pdf
6 Engaging Students Creating Classrooms That Improve Learning. Grattan Institute. See: https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Engaging-students-creating-classrooms-that-improve-learning.pdf
7 Green, J., Liem, G. A. D., Martin, A. J., Colmar, S., Marsh, H. W., & McInerney, D. (2012). Academic motivation, self-concept, engagement, and performance in high school: Key processes from a longitudinal perspective. Journal of adolescence35(5), 1111-1122.
7a Abbott‐Chapman, J., Martin, K., Ollington, N., Venn, A., Dwyer, T., & Gall, S. (2014). The longitudinal association of childhood school engagement with adult educational and occupational achievement: Findings from an Australian national study. British Educational Research Journal40(1), 102-120.
8 Willard, C., & Saltzman, A. (2015). Teaching mindfulness skills to kids and teens.
9 Tossell CC, Kortum P, Shepard C, Rahmati A, Zhong L. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him learn: Smartphone use in higher education. British Journal of Educational Technology July 2015;46(4):713–724. Article first published online: 22 JUN 2014, DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12176
10 Cook, C. R., Miller, F. G., Fiat, A., Renshaw, T., Frye, M., Joseph, G., & Decano, P. (2017). Promoting secondary teachers’ well-being and intentions to implement evidence-based practices: randomized evaluation of the achiever resilience curriculum. Psychology in the Schools54(1), 13-28. 
11 Zeman, J., Cassano, M., Perry-Parrish, C., & Stegall, S. (2006). Emotion regulation in children and adolescents. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics27(2), 155-168.
12 Klingbeil, D. A., Renshaw, T. L., Willenbrink, J. B., Copek, R. A., Chan, K. T., Haddock, A., ... & Clifton, J. (2017). Mindfulness-based interventions with youth: A comprehensive meta-analysis of group-design studies. Journal of school psychology63, 77-103.
13 Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Lawlor, M. S. (2010). The effects of a mindfulness-based education program on pre-and early adolescents’ well-being and social and emotional competence. Mindfulness1(3), 137-151.
13a Beauchemin, J., Hutchins, T. L., & Patterson, F. (2008). Mindfulness meditation may lessen anxiety, promote social skills, and improve academic performance among adolescents with learning disabilities. Complementary Health Practice Review13(1), 34-45.
14 Lawlor, M. S. (2016). Mindfulness and social emotional learning (SEL): A conceptual framework. In Handbook of mindfulness in education (pp. 65-80). Springer, New York, NY.
15 Crain, T. L., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Roeser, R. W. (2017). Cultivating teacher mindfulness: Effects of a randomized controlled trial on work, home, and sleep outcomes. Journal of occupational health psychology22(2), 138. 
16 Cook, C. R., Miller, F. G., Fiat, A., Renshaw, T., Frye, M., Joseph, G., & Decano, P. (2017). Promoting secondary teachers’ well-being and intentions to implement evidence-based practices: randomized evaluation of the achiever resilience curriculum. Psychology in the Schools54(1), 13-28. 
17 Singh NN, Lancioni GE, Winton ASW, Karazsia BT, Singh J. Mindfulness Training for Teachers Changes the Behavior of Their Preschool Students. Research in Human Development 2013;10(3):211–233.
18 El Nokali, N. E., Bachman, H. J., & Votruba‐Drzal, E. (2010). Parent involvement and children’s academic and social development in elementary school. Child development, 81(3), 988-1005.